A new 'dry-dock' at the Defence Science & Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Edinburgh, South Australia, will house a highly advanced Virtual Ship and provide a permanent home for studies supporting the acquisition and ownership of future generations of Royal Australian Navy platforms. The 380 square metre building will house a 10 x 9 metre Virtual Ship operations room and a presentation and exercise control area, which will provide for observation of the operations room. The Virtual Ship concept integrates simulation models, which represent the component systems of a warship. A virtual representation of a warship is constructed in a manner similar to the construction of a real vessel.
At the heart of the Virtual Ship are systems, which facilitate the command and control of sensor, weapon, countermeasure, and navigation systems. Essential platform behaviour is also simulated, examples of which are ship hydrodynamics and damage due to weapon detonations.
The Virtual Ship will interact with simulated external entities, friendly and otherwise, just as in a real situation. Defence industry has played a key role in the development of DSTO's Virtual Ship. Saab Systems, RLM Systems and Tenix Industries and others will all provide essential systems to integrate into the Virtual Ship. The primary focus of the program is to support real-time, human-in-the-loop simulation. The Virtual Ship will create a controlled environment where humans may interact with warship systems and the effectiveness of the system as a whole may be explored, taking account of the human component.